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Listing October - 2009
Happy Halloween!!
Stop Supposing……~Author Unknown

Don’t start your day by supposing that trouble is just ahead. It’s better to stop supposing and start with a prayer instead. For what is the use of supposing the dire things that could happen to you. Why worry about some misfortune that seldom if ever comes true. But instead of just idle supposing, why not step forward to meet each new day secure in the knowledge that God is near you to lead you each step of the way. For supposing the worst things will happen, only helps to make them come true. So if you desire to be happy just give up supposing the worst things and look for the best things instead.
'Be not like the one who sits by the fireside and watches the fire go out, then blows vainly upon the dead ashes. Do not give up hope or yield to despair because of that which is past, for to bewail the irretrievable is the worst of human frailites.' ~Kahlil Gabran

We all know the comforts of an open fire especially since the clocks have gone back an hour. Central heating is convenient but will never have the character or warmth of an open fire. But once a fire goes out there is no going back. Ashes can never go back to the warmth and heat they gave out earlier. They have served their purpose and its time to move on. The same goes with mistakes made or regrets over something in our past. Nothing can undo or change what's happened. If we continue looking into the dead ashes we are stuck. For any healing or growth to take place we must move on or at least take a step forward in hope. In our Gospel stories Jesus constantly found people looking into dead ashes. He encouraged and gave them permission to move on with their lives. We all need the same from time to time.
‘As I watch the news and keep in touch with places I have visited, I am more than ever grateful for a spirituality which never denies darkness and pain. The journey in life must be one of continuing growth and transformation.’ ~Esther de Waal

It would be great if everything was cosy and rosy every single day. Unfortunately life is a mix of so many contrasts, happy and sad, elation and devastation, light and darkness, success and hurt, health and sickness, life and death. Every religion has its weaknesses but thankfully many strengths too. Christianity embraces everything that life throws at us and includes every contrast in life that’s out there. We believe that God is with us in every good and happy moment but also with us in the darkness and pain as well. When we are in the darkest corners we need to know that we are not on our own and that there is a way forward. Our belief is that God is the one who helps us through what is painful and difficult. There are no easy options, no quick fixes and no magic wands. But one thing we are guaranteed is that God is firmly on our side.
A traveller hired a donkey to take him to the next town. He agreed a fee with the owner of the donkey. “There is just one drawback,” explained the owner of the donkey. “My donkey won’t walk very far unless I poke him with a stick now and again. You ride on its back. I don’t mind walking behind you.” It was a hot day but they still made good progress. In the middle of the day with the sun at its hottest, they stopped for a rest. “I shall sit in the shade of the donkey,” said the traveller. “Oh no you won’t” snapped the owner, “That is where I am going to rest. It’s the only shade around for miles.” “I’ve hired the donkey, so I should sit in the shade” argued the traveller. “Not at all” shouted the owner. “You hired the donkey, not its shadow. That belongs to me.” The owner was so angry that he gave the traveller a push. In a moment both were fighting furiously. In the meantime the donkey grew bored and trotted off taking its shadow with her.
Moral of the story: Most arguments are petty and useless.
As Jesus left Jericho with his disciples and a large crowd, Bartimaeus (that is, the son of Timaeus), a blind beggar, was sitting at the side of the road. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout and to say, 'Son of David, Jesus, have pity on me.' And many of them scolded him and told him to keep quiet, but he only shouted all the louder, 'Son of David, have pity on me.'

The following reflection is by Fr.Tom Cahill

Jesus doesn’t ask stupid questions. So, why does he ask Bartimeus what seems at best a question with an obvious answer in today’s Gospel reading (Mark 10:46-52)? Bartimeus is blind, and a beggar. He calls Jesus ‘Son of David’. So the odds are in favour of him wanting more than money. He wants his sight. Yet, Jesus doesn’t assume that. Why?

Perhaps he wants to show respect towards Bartimeus, unlike the crowd who tell him to shut up. Jesus invites him to speak for himself. Can we say we always do that with those we consider unimportant to us? Those whose sentences we finish for them? Those whose conversation we cut across when in company? Those whom we think aren’t worth listening to?

Or perhaps Jesus wants to test the quality of Bartimeus’s faith. ‘Son of David’ he calls Jesus. Will he now undo the impression he makes by asking Jesus for a few coins? Respecting Bartimeus’s freedom, Jesus let’s his faith unfold. And what a faith it is! He asks for nothing short of a miracle. Even though he’s blind he can ‘see’ that Jesus is more than ordinary. Faith brings vision of a kind that healthy eyes may fail to. Do we see in Jesus more than the human eye can catch? Is our faith great enough to expect a personal transformation little short of the miraculous by sincerely asking for it? Jesus doesn’t force us to ask for the impossible. But he does invite us to. What a shame should we refuse because it might sound stupid!
There are many ways of saying ‘Well done’……

That’s great, Super, That’s good, You are brilliant at that, That’s coming along nicely, That’s the best you have ever done, You’re doing a really good job, What an improvement, I knew you could do it, Congratulations, I couldn’t have done it better myself, Nice going, You haven’t missed anything, Wow, Keep up the good work, Terrific, Nothing can stop you now, That’s the way to do it, Sensational, That’s the best ever, Wonderful, You have done that so well, Nice one, Outstanding, Fantastic, Tremendous, Now that’s what I call a fine job, You certainly did well today, Keep it up, You did a lot of work today, I really appreciate what you have done, I’d be lost without you, You’re one in a million, You really are an inspiration, Thank you so much, Marvellous, You’re a star, May God bless you for all you’ve done. There may be many ways of saying well done, but the most important of them all is the one you actually say to someone.
My few words for Mass today at the Church of St.Mary and St.John, Ballincollig, Co.Cork

Today is Mission Sunday and to mark Mission during the week in Coláiste Choilm we did a number of things. One of the most enjoyable, was making contact with a school in Cape Town, South Africa via a live skype video link. It was technology working at its best. Using a camera attached to a computer we were able to talk to another class all the way in South Africa.

The school is called ‘Ocean View Secondary School’ and is a mixed secondary school. We were able to chat and talk to them as if they were in the same room. After some initial shyness it turned out to be a lovely get to know you session. We finished the video link after 45 minutes with them singing their National Anthem and then we sang ours. It was one small way of widening the horizons of our students to the world at large out there. That’s the main reason why we mark Mission Sunday. We sometimes forget that there is a bigger picture out there of which we are a tiny part but nevertheless a very important part.

Mission is always looking outwards, reaching out beyond ourselves, our home, our community, our parish, our diocese, our nation.

We often think of missionaries as just priests and sisters but we also include many people who have taken time out and who have decided to give some months or longer to work with the underprivileged in various parts of the world. 80% of the world’s population lives in poverty, so the challenges are extensive. Mission Sunday is all about celebrating the work of missionaries, remembering them in our prayers and asking God’s blessings on all the good work they do. Mission is not about having all the answers. It is embracing and respecting so many different beliefs and viewpoints about God. Mission Sunday celebrates the uniqueness of every single person no matter what their beliefs. We are asked today to pray for all missionaries and all countries across the world today.

I’ll finish today by sharing how we finished our Transition Year Retreat last Friday in Gougane Bara. We took a bus of 50 students down on Friday - another 50 will go tomorrow. But on Friday at the end of the day we gathered near the oratory of St.Finbarr. The water was perfectly still and we all threw a stone one by one into the water. We watched as the ripples gently spread out and out. We reminded each student that our little bit, our little contribution does have a remarkable effect. Like the ripples going out, so do our little contributions each day.

Today Mission Sunday we also celebrate your contribution and like the ripples in the water your contribution is valued, respected and so important. Mission Sunday is recognising that these ripples are happening in every part of the world. Great things are happening and will continue to happen.
‘Mission is always looking outwards, reaching out beyond ourselves, our home, our community, our parish, our diocese, our nation. Mission is opening oneself to others as brothers and sisters, discovering and encountering them, sharing their joys and suffering’ ~Intercom Magazine

Tomorrow (Oct 18th) is Mission Sunday. Each year on the third weekend in October the focus is put on missionaries working in various parts of the world. We often think of missionaries as just priests and sisters but we also include many people who taken time out and who have decided to give some months or longer to work with the underprivileged in various parts of the world. 80% of the world’s population lives in poverty, so the challenges are extensive. Mission Sunday is all about celebrating the work of missionaries, remembering them in our prayers and asking God’s blessings on all the good work they do. Mission is not about having all the answers. It is embracing and respecting so many different beliefs and viewpoints about God. Mission Sunday celebrates the uniqueness of every single person no matter what their beliefs. We pray this weekend for all our missionaries.
It’s time to slow down…

A young and successful executive was travelling down a neighbour hood street, going a bit fast in his new Jaguar. Suddenly a brick smashed into the side door. He slammed on the brakes, jumped out of the car and roared at the boy who threw it. “What are you at? That brick is going to cost you lots of money” he shouted. “Please sir, I’m sorry. I threw the brick because no one else would stop.” Tears were dripping down the boy’s chin as he pointed around a parked car. “It’s my brother. He rolled out of his wheelchair and I can’t lift him up. Can you help me?” Moved beyond words the driver tried to swallow the rapidly swelling lump in his throat. He lifted him back and then watched the boy push the wheelchair down the pavement towards their home. It was a long walk back for the man to his Jaguar, a long slow walk. He never did repair the side door. It was only a small dent but it would always be there to remind him not to go through life so fast that someone has to throw a brick at you to get your attention.
‘If you pray for another, you will be helped yourself.’ ~Yiddish Proverb

Prayer is easier than we think. We say to ourselves that it’s too hard and that we don’t have the proper time for it. It’s so easy to look for excuses. The easiest prayer is to pray for ourselves, praying that we will get through this day as best we can. It is always good to pray for other people too, especially when we may not be able to help them in the way we want. What a great gift to give to someone by saying a little prayer for them. Not only will they benefit but we too will benefit. Every person who prays always receives blessings. When it rains it’s not just one flower that benefits but every flower. Each prayer no matter how small or short is always valued, appreciated and well worth the effort.
‘Will the real you please stand up, please stand up, please stand up.’ ~Eminem

As we journey through life we change. Simple things like fashion are interesting. Most people laugh when they see pictures of themselves five or ten years ago. Our taste in music may change as do our opinions, our goals, our ambitions and our hopes for tomorrow. This is good and healthy. Sometimes we need to have the courage to cast off the layers of identity that we thought was us but actually isn’t. Another way of putting it is to allow the real you or me stand up. Jesus criticized the Pharisees and Scribes because everything about them was so false. They were afraid of themselves. Jesus simply says: ‘Be yourself’. The challenge for us is to be authentic. It’s about letting the real you stand up. It’s about being honest with ourselves each day including our feelings. The easy option is to retreat, to be afraid and hide but the Gospel call is to let the real you stand up.
Jesus was setting out on a journey when a man ran up, knelt before him and put this question to him, 'Good master, what must I do to inherit eternal life?' Jesus said to him, 'Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: You must not kill; You must not commit adultery; You must not steal; You must not bring false witness; You must not defraud; Honour your father and mother.' And he said to him, 'Master, I have kept all these from my earliest days.' Jesus looked steadily at him and loved him, and he said, 'There is one thing you lack. Go and sell everything you own and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.' But his face fell at these words and he went away sad, for he was a man of great wealth.

Our thought today has been written by Rev.Joseph Cassidy

I wonder sometimes what happened to the rich young man. Wouldn't it be a terrible tragedy if he became a rich old miser? Did his money make him happy? or did he lose it along the way? Did he have any regrets about his refusal to follow Jesus? We simply don't know. The saddest thing about the rich young man is that he missed an opportunity. The tragedy of the rich young man is the road not taken and the defining moment missed. May we learn something from his hesitancy. When Christ's personal call comes to us in the circumstances of our daily lives, may we have the vision and generosity to respond.
‘A gift should be enjoyed or it can be put away and forgotten. It can challenge us, surprise us, fulfil a need or change our lives. A good gift brings joy with it. I have realised that my family and friends are not a haphazard quirk of fate but gifts from a loving God.’ ~Sue Whitehead

How often we take for granted those around us, particularly those who are generous with their time, loving and kind. Just like turning on a tap we expect the water to flow because this is what happens every time we use it. But what if the water didn’t flow? What if those who are special to us simply dried up in all they give us? We would soon be lost, lonely and dispirited. There is a lovely saying that says: ‘A good friend is hard to find and when you find one good and true, don’t suddenly change the old one for the new.’ This weekend I thank God for my family and friends. I thank God for their friendship and support. May I never take them for granted.
‘I have known shadow, I have known sun and now I know these two are one.’ ~Rudyard Kipling

Every day is a contrast between light and darkness and between colour and shadows. Nature always finds the balance and the many bright autumn colours to be found this month is just an example. In our own lives we are not as comfortable in finding the balance. We all find it difficult to find the balance between what goes well and what’s struggling for us. There are few whose lives are just sunshine. Every person has some shadow that follows them. We always have to remember that for every shadow, the sun is never too far away. At the heart of our Gospel message is how God journeys with us, even in the middle of our darkest moments. We are reminded that good never looses grip even when our darker moments seem to have a firmer grip.
‘There must be something strangely sacred in salt. It is in our tears and in the sea.’ ~Kahlil Gibran

Salt is something we can’t do without. It is involved in regulating the water content and balance of our body. Too little of it and we’re in trouble and too much also puts us in trouble. It’s all about finding the right balance. There are 35 references to salt in our scriptures. It’s no surprise that Jesus used it in his teaching. To use something that was so familiar to people was a great starting point. He said we are the salt of the earth. In other words we are crucially important, valued and loved. The main purpose of salt is not just to add taste to food but to bring balance to our bodies. So it is with us. Finding the right balance in all we do is a life long challenge. Many search and long for this balance. Putting our trust and faith in a loving God gives us a great foundation to find and build this balance.
‘And I shall put my spirit in you, and you will live, and I shall resettle you on your own soil; and you will know that I, the Lord, have said and done this - it is the Lord who speaks.’ ~ Ezekiel: 37:14

These few lines of scripture speak to people whose spirits are low. These lines were written to remind people that God would give them renewed life, hope and energy. All is not lost and in vain. The same applies to our lives too. Perhaps we too are feeling down and dissspirited. Maybe there is a part of our lives that is dead and going nowhere. God never gives up on us. God also wants to bring us life, hope and energy too. The invitation is to bring whatever is getting us down to God. We are invited to entrust it all into the hands of God. We ask God to give us renewed hope and life again.
‘There is no short cut to making a good painting. Time is the act of looking closely at something, close enough to really see, to preserve the memory and how it made you feel.’ ~Eithne Jordan

A good painting, photo, song, poem or book will all capture something. They recall and capture a moment or a collection of moments. They lead us in close enough to really see what needs to be seen. Our lives are also similar. There are no short cuts and nothing is easy. But our story and our collection of moments do add up to something special. Like an artist God helps us to put our life painting together. The big difference is that God always chooses the positive and the good. God works with our darker colours and mixes them into something vibrant and colourful. This is what forgiveness is all about. It is liberating and energising. Perhaps forgiveness isn’t a popular word today. But the end results are so beneficial, healthy and positive. Can I be open to God’s forgiveness in my life?
Thought returns as normal tomorrow
The thought for today resumes as normal next Monday. Instead today the there is a repeat of the thought for today from this time last year.

Every great mistake has a halfway moment, a split second when it can be recalled and perhaps remedied.’ ~Pearl Buck

We make mistakes because we are human and because we have our limitations. A mistake happens when we are out of touch with the rhythms of the moment. Or using an image from photography a mistake happens when we are out of focus. The halfway moment in any mistake is to look back and say “What can I learn from that.” Then it’s time to move on. There is nothing to be gained from wallowing in self pity and remorse. The Christian response is to use every mistake as an opportunity to be a better and a stronger person. Mistakes can keep all our lives very much in focus and their role may be of greater significance than we had ever imagined.
Thought For Today resumes as normal next Monday. Today is a repeat of thought for this day last year.

Everyone no matter how humble they may be has angels to watch over them. They are heavenly, pure and splendid. They have been given to keep us company on our way. They have been given the task of keeping careful watch over us.’ ~Pope Pius XII

Today is the feast of our guardian angel. We all have our own personal guardian angel and they are as influential as we allow them to be. The more we believe in them and call on them, the greater their presence and influence in our lives. Our guardian angel is always with us and is always ready to help, guide and direct us. Pope Pius is famous for devotion to his guardian angel and said that without such devotion he would never have got through all the delicate and difficult situations he often faced. Today is a day when we can pray to our personal guardian angel. It’s not asking him/her to solve all of our life’s problems but to simply be a beacon of light and hope along our own daily journey.
Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is that little voice at the end of the day that says: “I’ll try again tomorrow.” ~Anne Hunningshake

What makes sporting teams or any athlete great is how they respond to their bad days. It’s easy to make progress when confidence is high and things are going well. But it doesn’t always last and it’s the response that follows that can make or break a team. The same goes for each of us too. God always calls each of us to look at the bigger picture in life. This means that no matter how bad things may seem at the moment, they will change. We pray for courage to keep going in the midst of our hardest and most difficult days. This is something we don’t do on our own. We have the support of family and friends. We have the gentle presence of God in our lives to give us the courage to say, “Yes, I can try again tomorrow.”


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